The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan Reviews

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merlynsprankling
Super Reviewer
September 4, 2011
The film describes the harsh life of Taliban-era refugees living in the caves around the destroyed, 1,600-year-old Buddhist shrine of Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

THE BOY WHO PLAYS ON THE BUDDHAS OF BAMIYAN focuses on smiling eight-year-old Mir, camera-cute but pugnacious, and his family who live among the ruins of the 'Buddhas of Bamiyan', one of the tallest stone statues of the world destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Mir's acceptance of life as it is portrayed to him quite humbling. Harsh life or not, he laughs and mocks fate. His parents, tired of their hellish existence -- 20 years of wars and poverty -- are like the other adults, doing their best to survive with a fatalistic resignation. What we glimpse in this film is the equality of human existence.

The film captures the startling contrasts between the beauty of the surroundings and ugliness of these people's poverty, but its decision to present the political and historical context mainly through the family's (sometimes uninformed) words and snippets of World Service news, while leaving footage of visits by ministers and aid agencies without comment, makes for a finally unsatisfying result. It is an incredibly poignant documentary and captivating viewing as you follow the extraordinary story of Mir and his family's struggle.

The landscape is stark, the winter is harsh, the refugees' stories are harrowing, Mir's school is crowded and ill equipped, helicopters move across the sky, and the roads carry mostly military vehicles, there's no question the situation is grim. But the personalities are engaging, while occasional intrusions by the outside world into this remote spot offer both rays of hope and bureaucratic absurdism. Two decades of upheaval may have left them calloused and battle-scarred, but their hope in the feisty, almost blissfully oblivious Mir goes a long way in explaining their unflagging willingness to survive.
½ January 3, 2010
"the Taliban came and shelled everything.. the houses, the schools, the dispensary"
½ March 11, 2008
Life in post-Taliban Afghanistan. When an eight year old is beaten for playing football because he's ruining his only pair of shoes. Heartbreaking.
½ March 5, 2008
the film tells the story of the year in the life of one Afghan family of refugees entirely from their perspective, illuminating areas of their local political situation to an outside at the same time as it uncovers the huge gulf between them and the rest of the world (re: one character's description of the events of 9/11). no narration, only outside commentary comes as type-face historical data points bookend the film. the cinematograpy is absolutely wonderful. Phil Grabsky really shoots a beautiful film with some pretty bleak subject matter. Oh and by the way: F*&# the Taliban. Eye of the ball Georgie boy...eye of the mickey-rickey ball.
½ September 4, 2007
Again I loved this film but not to everyone's taste.
June 21, 2007
Very interesting Documentary.
½ June 6, 2007
A little slow moving at times, but it's well-worth the watch. A little bit of a sad movie, but an honest look at someone's life.
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